A Quick Catch-Up

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Dear Readers,

Just a little note to say that the Blog has not been forgotten, despite the large gap between now and my last post! Lest anyone think that The Holly Tree Tales blogposts have ceased, I thought best to post a quick note to reassure you to the contrary.

It has been a very busy few months, a big time in the lives of my children and I, with all manner of travel up and down the UK, attending milestone events and doing one’s best to keep abreast (or ahead) of the days’ priorities, as well as the expected emotional highs and lows that go with the territory … endings and new beginnings, all happening in these months.  With the Summer come visitors from afar and abroad, and much demanding attention in the garden as well, with everything growing at once, so the Blog has had to settle into the background for a little while.  If you are waiting for a response to messages, please be assured that I shall be writing as soon as I can, and you have not been forgotten either!

In the midst of all the ‘busyness’, I recently decided to dip my toe into the world of Instagram so, if you are on Instagram too, do feel free to connect and follow my picture posts there.  The link is https://www.instagram.com/hollymaxwellboydell/?hl=en

Shall be back, just as soon as I am able.  In the meantime, thank you for continuing to visit and enjoy the writings on The Holly Tree Tales … your presence and your feedback are always greatly valued!

Kindest wishes,

Holly x

Blogging Moments

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Dear Readers, hello again!

It has been ten days since I last posted a note and, despite several attempts at posting new content, I promise that the time in between has not been all together wasted … I have been learning, or at least attempting to learn, how to make a few adjustments to the site.

Having celebrated the first anniversary of The Holly Tree Tales with the most wonderful surprise of many post likes and some new Followers too, delighted at the fact that the blog seems to be moving steadily now … in writing and arrival of new interested Readers … I then hit a wall.

Do you have days when you set out to make a great alteration or improvement to your website or blog, thinking that you can see the way forward clearly in your mind’s eye, but then fail miserably when faced with several open tabs across the top of your screen, as you battle your way back to the clarity that you possessed before sitting down in front of it?  Well, I have had a few of those sorts of days recently and, Murphy’s Law, they have appeared soon after ‘celebrating’ one year on the Road of the Blog. It is utterly maddening and frustrating and I can only think that, if there is a lesson in here somewhere, it is making me a finer and more agile manipulator of all things communication.

Today, at my wits’ end, I have wished that sitting nearby or hanging over my shoulder were a team of bright tech folk, ready, willing AND able to lend a hand to get me back onto my strengthening but wobbly Blogger feet. However, I am completely alone here through most days, living out in the sticks, and have no idea how to even call the WordPress Happiness Engineers for one of their charming cyberspace hugs.  So, I have ‘printscreened’ all of the facts collected, carefully saved into yet another Word document to refer to another day, and am going to keep praying for Enlightenment.

What is the thing that I am trying so hard to achieve, you might ask?  Simple, really: I am trying to add a footer to the bottom of The Holly Tree Tales’ site, saying  © The Holly Tree Tales 2016.  I have followed (at least I thought that was what I was doing) all sorts of instructions, WordPress and otherwise, but do you think I can get any closer to the prize?  Nope.  It has simply not been meant to be … and I promise I have tried until I was almost perspiring the endless cups of Rooibos or organic berry teas I’ve been drinking this week (having decided to cut down on the tannin I was consuming via my multiple cups of organic Earl Grey every day) … Eish.  That’s “fed up” in mod speak.

And what else have I been trying to do … apart from the rest of life, obviously?  Well, I chanced upon the notion that my blog, which uses the Hemingway Rewritten Theme (a Premium one, that is) supports a Static Front Page, amongst its various other bells and whistles.  Understand, please, that I am spending precious pennies on the running of this blog, pennies that are not in plentiful supply right now, nor renewable, in the hope that soon my head will be clear enough to make the pennies chink more loudly and waterfall-like into my ready hands, in all manner of ways.  For now, I optimistically invest a not-inconsiderable amount annually, to have this written internet presence and I really and truly want it to work well.  However, I have yet to see the light as far as something as simple as getting that Static Front Page set up … and still have a number of other areas in the Blog that need, and have been waiting a long time for, updating and more flesh.

If your journey into the blogging world has been full of pits and nasty surprises, fear not: you are not alone.  I might even say, we’re in this together.  Let no one convince you that being a Blogger is an easy feat.  It is not.  Not unless you were born wearing a Tech Design hat, or have been schooled in the fine art of this secret science.  Over time I am sure that The Holly Tree Tales will become better and easier to manage, and more worthy of the loyal and wonderful Readers who so kindly spend their time on the content collected under the shade of The Holly Tree Tales’ branches.  I thank you all for being here still … I will, eventually, get this figured out and into some sort of rhythm, I’m determined.

As with so many things in life, I realise that it is in the letting go that we receive that which is most elusive, if it is meant to come towards us, and so I am letting go … and hoping that somehow all will soon fall into place.

Until next time,

Holly x


PS. The pic above was taken three days ago, on Saturday 9th January at 8.00am. The sun had done its best to rise and delight me … but two minutes later, it had disappeared.  The snow was beautiful though, a lovely change from all the muddy fields around here at the moment.

First Anniversary of The Holly Tree Tales Blog

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What a lovely surprise to receive this message from WordPress last night:

“Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com one year ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!”

It is indeed an auspicious occasion, and I am very grateful to have readers and followers of the blog, on this writing and publishing journey with me.

Thank you for the support in this first tentative year of getting my words out into the public domain, taking shaky steps into the challenging technological space that exists as a stage without a visible audience, as I slowly build the jigsaw of my memories, my life story, things I have learnt, and my thoughts along the way.

Thanks, WordPress, for making this worldwide platform possible. With over 100 posts now logged, the first year of novice ‘blogging’ has held many lessons, many moments of confusion in the writing and technological process, and multiple blessings have come my way too. May the second year of this particular journey reap even greater rewards, with the basic blog site’s structure now (almost) all in place, building on that which has been created thus far.

I look forward to seeing the writing reach its zenith, as well as a wider audience, this year! Every small step is a step in growing confidence and validation for that already hard won.

Thank you, everyone, for the great encouragement to keep ‘blogging’. I am very grateful that the work here is so valued.


Holly x




A Catch-Up With Readers

Looking South-West at a spectacular evening sky, from outside the Author's home, in February 2015.

Looking South-West at a spectacular early evening sky in February 2015.

Dear Readers,

Today I thought it would be a good idea to stop a while and say thank you to those who have been kind enough to take an interest in my Blog, and who have so willingly ‘signed up’ to follow The Holly Tree Tales, either as fellow bloggers or via personal email updates.

Having finally begun to set up a blog in January this year, then struggling endlessly to master the technical side of it, tripping over all manner of things, and experimenting with all sorts of posts – while, at the same time, being terrified at the prospect of speaking before an audience I cannot see and do not know, yet determined to face the challenge with authenticity – I think I am getting a little closer to being able to post something, without giving myself palpitations or an exhaustion headache in the process!

Yes, some of the photographs featured are dreadfully amateur, but that’s because they’re usually not staged and are often simply captured in the moment. Yes, some of the writing bangs on forever, but that’s because I try to write as if we were in the room together. Oh and, yes, some of my writing might appear rather stilted or old-fashioned … but perhaps I’m being too harsh on myself … Whatever. I do not seek judgement, please, nor critique, merely simple acceptance of my offerings and the knowing that I am grateful to have any readers at all. Your comments are always welcome and it is very heartening to know when posts have been of use or comfort, so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with me and the other readers of this blog. It really helps to know that there is an audience out there!

I wonder how many have noticed that I have learnt how to create menu headings? Believe it or not, I did not read the WordPress tutor documents before setting out on this blogging journey … perhaps foolishly, but I did not realise that they existed.  Indeed this too has been a steep learning curve, but such fun, with a sense of personal achievement to finally master! As a result, several menu headings have been set up for The Holly Tree Tales, alongside what I have nicknamed the “Blogscroll” (now that I have learnt that it is also the “Home” page), and that as yet most of the additional menu headings and sub-headings still await their content. This is partly because Life itself has determined the pace at which I have been able to compile the page content, and also that writing clarity has not always matched the energy needed to fill in the gaps. They shall come … both clarity and energy … in tandem, I hope. When the clarity comes further, I intend to tidy up the blog site “categories” too, which currently seem rather endless! One dolly step at a time, as the learning continues.

So, thank you for following The Holly Tree Tales, with its wonky structure and its little moments of applause, and thank you for patiently standing in the wings while I figure out what I am doing on the stage. It has been a nerve-wracking experience stepping up to the podium, and one that continues to challenge me, but I shall continue to do my best to deliver writing from the heart and to share some of my journey with you.

Blessings and encouragement on your journey too,

Holly x

A Little Reminder

A handwritten note in my journal, from an inspiring article shown to me by my daughter last year, written by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of
Happened upon this handwritten note in my journal, from an inspiring article by Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of “Eat, Pray, Love”), directed to me by my daughter last year.

And so, I am telling myself again today:

Your job is only to write your heart out,
And let destiny take care of the rest.

A gentle reminder to get on with the job.

Holly x

Monday morning Blog potholes

It is the start of a new week and I would love to be able to find the answers to a few questions on the physical workings of le Blog, by having someone real and three dimensional show me the way.

Yesterday I posted a blurb (about Ifafa) and struggled to get it to look like most of the other posts I have written on “The Holly Tree Tales” site … but to no avail. Thus, its text remains very small, by comparison with all the others. How does one control the font size and style of a simple blog post, when writing the original in a Word document, to save and copy across?

This morning I am wondering, yet again, whether every photograph that I post (which are all my own images), ought to be ‘signed’ by the photographer herself, to avoid plagiary on the internet? Is it sufficient to overwrite the photographs with the name of this blog site? Is it too impersonal to do this, or is it perfectly acceptable and good?

As I am currently writing and editing across several platforms, I wonder at the wisdom of automatically linking them all, but stop at the question of conflict and confusion, or invasion of my personal space. There are no absolutes in this, I know, and no rules to accurately guide us in the wise use of the internet to share our words and message, but there are times when I wish an ‘expert’ could hand me the A-Z.

The saving grace in all of this is that I know that I am the person whom I say I am, that I write what I believe or have experienced, and that consistency of message is my own key ethic by which to live … that certainly takes the wrinkles out of the moral cobweb, and makes me able to sleep soundly at night. An expert guide in all things communication would be a gift from above, but in the meantime I shall persevere with the guide within and hope that somehow a consistent note and path reveals itself.

Here begins a new week … who know the inspiration that awaits? Perhaps these potholes will become filled and solidly reliable this week.

In hope for more technical and communication method breakthrough,

Holly x

Gentle progress on the Blog structure

Well, believe it or not, I have finally managed to create additional Menu headings for The Holly Tree Tales …

After weeks of attempting to do this by myself (both of my tech savvy children away and colleagues scant right now) and making all manner of errors, I have once more achieved a shift in the growth direction. What a relief. Yes, I might perhaps have read WordPress’ tips and guides, but I find it easier to use intuition – even if it does take forever to get there! Not being one who is experienced at reading Blogs, let alone attending to the technical side, I have come at this from a rather dense, naive and muddled perspective, but the light is appearing …

So, we’re one more dolly step closer to building this project’s structure. The satisfaction is immense.

Onwards in hope!

Holly x

Sometimes Nature has a way of reflecting what we might be experiencing!

Sometimes Nature has a way of reflecting what we might be experiencing!


Tackling Blog Technology

Tuesday 24th February 2015

Oh dear … I have managed to erase the carefully installed Menu headings on The Holly Tree Tales, and now they are all lumped into one basket called “Gardens”. The Garden of Life is playing games with me again. Three steps forward, five steps back.

Three weeks ago, I managed to remove all of the right hand side of the face of le Blog. Thank goodness for my daughter, who managed to practise long-distance, remote-controlled surgery on the workings of le Blog for me, re-establishing my equilibrium and techno relationship with this mysterious monster.

Who knew that #blogs had #slugs? Did you?
I learnt that one, today. I learn something new every day.

Perhaps once I have mastered this, Life will hand me an ‘honorary doctorate’.
I’ve certainly put in the hours!

So, back to the drawing board …
I wonder where all the other material has disappeared to?
Hmmm ….

Keep calm and breathe ...

Keep calm and breathe …

Took a break, cleared my head. Returned to retackle the task …
Have now restored the two original menu headings.
However, not sure what has happened to the ‘Garden’ menu heading.
This could go on forever.
Sooner or later, we shall have lift off and the ‘building’ will be complete, leaving only detail and decoration to attend… but the structure creation is testing my perseverance. Severely.

Falling back in love with the process … having remembered how to change the name of a “Category” at least.
The Menu creation will have to wait, and so will all that I was going to write on those ‘static’ pages of the Menu today (yes, I now know that they are ‘static’, and what ‘static’ means in Blog Speak. Progress.)

To my dear Readers,
Sincere thanks for your patience while this all evolves.
So much to tell, so many pictures, so many words, just can’t quickly get it all onto here and in readable form.
Thank you for coming along on the ride!

Holly x

A symbolic sunset?

It was around 5pm this evening that I happened to glance out of a window on the western side of the building, immediately struck by the pink and gold hues across the sky. I rushed to grab my phone, as the camera was elsewhere, and managed to quickly take a couple of photographs, before the magnificent light disappeared over the horizon. It felt symbolic somehow, and notable in the way that I had seen it before it disappeared, moments later.

In the photo that I’m posting with these words, the light is behind the skeletons of many trees, overgrown shrubs and rambling roses, in their Winter state of undress … the few evergreens that are hidden in there, are holly trees and one or two conifers. The light is behind, and this to me is meaningful. It is so like the situation that I’m trying to crawl through in the building and writing of my blog, as well as other areas of life right now. There is light beyond … I just have to reach it.

Today I discovered that somewhere someone had placed my name on a list of “Influential Women” – I was simply bemused, and then I laughed, and then I told myself not to get carried away, to take it with a bucket of salt, and then I realised that, even though the list is not something of great significance, I ought to be grateful that my name was on a list like that … I certainly am humbled by it, at any rate … and perhaps it was a little sign of something that is trying to manifest itself, something perhaps that the Universe has ‘up its sleeve’. Who knows?

Today has been a special day for me, because I am one step closer to being more comfortable with ‘standing in my own power’, touched by the love of friends and the blessings that are all around me, in the hearts of loved ones around the world and in the positive energy of those who are once again in my life, or newly so.

Each day I learn more how important it is to stand in the NOW, and to hold each moment as sacred in itself, seeing it as a wonder of life (as Thich Nhat Hanh might say), breathing mindfully, and knowing that all is well and is unfolding as it should. Such moments of wisdom become clear when one truly sees such a sunset.

Holly x

A magnificent sunset, captured through overgrown trees, shrubs and rambling roses.

A magnificent sunset, captured through overgrown trees, shrubs and rambling roses.